Digital Banking: Is Your Local Bank Branch About to Become a Dinosaur?

Digital Banking

Digital Banking – Phasing our the Bring and Mortar Banks Branch

Digital Banking

Digital Banking: Is Your Local Bank Branch About to Become a Dinosaur?

In the past, we have written about digital currencies like Worldcoin and BitCoin. For most, however, the dollar is still king and traditional financial institutions remain a big part of our lives. Until the past decade or so, banking has remained relatively unchanged. Banks consisted of a quiet, almost library-like lobby. Velvet ropes would guide us to the next teller, who would sit behind a window or tall counter. But the banking industry is undergoing growing, and in many cases, shrinking pains. There are big changes taking place in this legendarily stoic business and odds are they will, if they haven’t already, affect you.

The Growth of Digital and Mobile Banking

Banks have always seemed to be just a step behind when it comes to transforming digitally. In part, this reluctance to change has been purposeful. This was to cater to an older customer base who held significant deposits and were less likely to appreciate change. It also was due to security concerns and significant investments in bricks and mortar buildings and infrastructure. In the past, banks dealt with a large amount of currency and needed secure locations to store and manage it. Today, most money already exists in the digital realm.

Since the Great Recession of 2008, bank branches and employees have dropped significantly. This was due to economic concerns, competitive reasons, and the transition of a significant number of their customers to digital banking. Millennials, today’s largest generation, prefer digital banking and is quite comfortable conducting banking tasks on mobile devices. If checks aren’t direct deposited, banking apps can easily scan and deposit funds quickly and securely.

A report by a research firm CACI and quoted in an article in The Financial Brand predicts that physical visits to bank branches will drop by 36% by 2022. It also anticipates mobile banking to rise by a whopping 121% over that same period. This increase in mobile banking will lead to a drop in “old” technology like desktops and laptops by 63% over that five year period. Younger consumers are already comfortable with digital and mobile banking. By 2022, it is expected that these 18-25-year-olds will only find it necessary to visit a bank branch twice annually. Even older customers may find their visits limited to five to seven times per year.

Digital Banking

What Will Happen to Bank Branch Locations?

The American Bankers Association says that the banking industry has lost over 67,000 jobs since 2009. That is a bit deceiving because the industry is in transition and is hiring. Instead of hiring tellers and loan officers, however, banks are hiring more IT and technically adept employees to help facilitate this major shift in their industry.

Traditional banks are looking for ways to reinvent the banking experience into a more contemporary model. The traditional “Bankers hours” will likely become a thing of the past and the sterile bank branches will give way to more convenient alternatives. In Europe, banks are already experimenting with pop-up and kiosks type banking centers in malls and retail stores. In the United States, some large retailers have worked in establishing banking offices in their locations. They still mainly operate like traditional branch locations.

Will your local bank branch become a dinosaur? Well, a report from commercial real estate firm JLL says that bank branches will be reduced by over 25% within the next ten years. That still leaves thousands of bricks and mortar locations. What will they do at these locations and how will banks improve the customer experience with fewer employees?

Digital Banking

The Transition from Financial to Technological

To keep up with their strictly digital competitors, banks are making the transformation to become as much technical organizations as financial. They are also taking the opportunity to expand their services and products into other financial areas. But with a shrinking number of employees and locations, how will they accomplish this?

The answer may lie in machine learning and artificial intelligence.

You see, banking, after all, is a data-driven business making it an almost perfect industry for machine learning and artificial intelligence. Using predictive and customer analytics, your “teller” of the future will know the best time to suggest refinancing your home, changing credit cards, and even when you should start thinking about buying a new car. They know your age and can prompt you to increase your retirement savings. They will learn your willingness to accept or desire to avoid risk and offer investment products accordingly.

Your bank can determine when you get paid and how much you make. Currently, much of this data is siloed in different locations, on different servers in various data centers or in the cloud. It is just a matter of time before this information is connected and machine learning and AI combine to create your teller of the future. Will it actually be a robot? It will more likely be in the form of a digital image on your phone or on a touchscreen in a discrete, cozy private office at a bank branch. It will recognize you, pull up your past transactions and financial history, conduct your transaction, and offer financial advice and products. Some will find it imposing and a bit frightening. Others will embrace the speed, accuracy, and convenience of this new way of banking. They will sell you on the convenience and advantage of having all your financial data with one bank so they can better help you manage an all-compassing financial plan. It will be a compelling argument.

Banking may have been just a tad slow in embracing technology in the past but it is riding a tidal wave of change right now. Bank branches may not totally disappear but they will certainly change in form and function. Considering the drudgery traditional banking has been in the past, most of us will view this as a good thing. A very good thing.

How Blogging Can Brand You and Position You

Benefits of Blogging for Business

Benefits of Blogging for Business

Benefits of Blogging for Business

Benefits of Blogging for Business

There are generally, three kinds of people.

  1. Those who blog
  2. Those who read blogs
  3. Those that wonder why people blog

If you wonder why people blog, this may give you some insight.

If you read blogs for enjoyment, to get information or for camaraderie, you are among the majority.

If you are a blogger, you likely have a mission. It may be to just share thoughts and experiences. Many blog to create an income source and others blog as part of a content market strategy and for SEO purposes.

While blogging started as a homespun way to share thoughts and opinions, it is big business today. Some estimate that there are more than 300 million blogs on the internet ranging in subject matter from the care of your new kitten to how to build a home. Bloggers range from stay at home mom’s to highly educated, professionals.

Why Do People Spend Time Blogging?

Many believe the reason people blog is to share their experiences for the common good of people in a specific portion of their life. While some bloggers are altruistic in nature and seek to inform the masses of the benefits of their experiences and knowledge, most have a more bottom-line focused motive.

Advertising revenues, page-views, click-thrus, name recognition, inbound marketing, content marketing, and reputation building are but a few. Google loves websites that contain blogs, especially when they are kept fresh and pertinent. This makes blogs valuable for search engine rankings. Blogging is also a powerful way to increase visitors, as sites with blogs get 97% more inbound links than those without. There are plenty of statistics that demonstrate the power of blogging. Blogs have been shown to shorten the sales cycle, positively impact the amount of inbound lead generation, and they build trust. They are a significant source of information as consumers move through the sales process. They hold much of their power because people read them.

Benefits of Blogging for Business

Why Do People Read Blogs?

Generally speaking, people read blogs to gain information. That information may help confirm their own opinions or it may help them complete a task. People read blogs to gain insights and recommendations. They may be facing an unfamiliar problem in life and in search of solutions. Every segment of society reads blogs. Readers may be searching for help on everything from selecting a baby’s name to finding the most exotic places to plan a vacation. Topics, content, and attitudes are unlimited when it comes to blogging.

The Overlooked Benefits of Blogging

While search engine rankings, clicks, and inbound links should be motivation enough to create and maintain a blog, there is a long-lasting impact blogs can have on a business that many pay little heed to. Blogs can position you and your company as an expert in your business segment and therefore brand your business.

Blogs will affect how people perceive you. Carefully crafted blogs can mold your business persona as you choose. Do you want to be perceived as an elite in your field? Would you prefer an image that is friendly, approachable, and one that is viewed as a trusted resource? Blogs can be humorous, down-to-earth, and sarcastic or they can be laser-focused on professionalism. They should always be honest, helpful, and fresh.

The point is, this “persona” should be a conscious decision. How do you want to be branded and positioned in the marketplace and does your blog help create that brand?

Sure, blogs will help with search engine visibility but they will have a long-lasting impact on the “personality” and voice of your business. It is up to you to determine what that voice will be.

The Bottom Line of Blogging

You’ve probably heard the phrase “content is king” in digital marketing today. In the past half-dozen years or so, content has climbed the ladder in terms of importance in search engine rankings. That, after all, is the purpose of a search engine, to help users find relevant content.

While many are focusing on H1 and H2 headlines and subheads, keywords, and keyword phrases and where and how often they appear in content, they may overlook the important role the content will play in branding and positioning their company.

There is an expression that says “It’s not so much what you say to a person that will make an impression but how you make them feel.” This is not to say that the content is not important, of course, it is. How your blog content is written, however, will impact how your readers feel about you. That will have a big effect on if they will want to do business with you. It is not enough to provide data or useful information. If they don’t feel good about you, they will just take the data you provided and use it when finding a resource they are more comfortable with.

How do you want your customers to feel about you? Make sure your blogs help mold that emotional bond and you can create an even bigger impression through your content marketing. You will better create a brand and position yourself in a way that converts more readers and visitors into customers.

The Inconvenient Truth about 24/7 Hosting Support

Technical support team on duty
Technical support team on duty

This is what customers expect their 24/7 technical support team to look like. The truth may be entirely different.

Most of web hosting services providers on the market claim to have technical support team available around the clock. This has somewhat become an industry standard for any reputable hosting company to have. What does 24/7 support mean exactly? Does it always mean you will get support anytime of the day instantly? Nope.. And here are a few examples to be aware of:

1. Only level-1 support available around the clock

This is probably the most common issue with 24/7 support. Some hosting companies claim that they have technical support available outside of office hours and even on holidays. What they don’t tell you is that this covers only level-1 support.  In many cases level-1 staff have very limited knowledge about handling issues. Their capability may be sufficient for assisting you with setting up an email account or pointing your domain to new name servers. However with more complex issues, such as website being down or hacked, the issue would be instantly escalated to a queue for higher levels of support.

Therefore in most cases level-1 is more like a virtual secretary who answers your ticket to let you know that the message has been forwarded to a technician, who will be responding to the matter “as soon as possible”. Worst case scenario you would have to wait for an answer for days, especially if it is holiday season or on weekends. This can be nerve-breaking when you need the issue to be addressed immediately.

2. Outsourced 24/7 technical support

Outsourcing technical support can be an attractive option for a hosting company to save money and resources. Instead of recruiting and training their own in-house staff whom would be on full payroll, many hosting providers take a shortcut and hire outside help. Sometimes if they get lucky they can get a capable team to help their clients but often outsourced help desks lack the quality of service.

The reason why an outsourced support team is never the same as an in-house one is mostly because of communication problems between the owners and support teams. Many times the outsourced support team is located in a different country. This may cause a language barrier and misunderstandings. The owners would never know for sure if the team is always there to perform their duty. The outsourced support team is not only working for one company. They are simultaneously working on multiple different help desks. It is also impossible for the owners to know the credentials of an outsourced technician. Many times they don’t even know their real names. Trusting your data in hands of someone nobody knows seems a bit risky.

3. Understaffed help desk

This is a common problem with bigger service providers. While they have 24/7 support team on duty, they don’t have enough staff to handle the ticket load fast enough. You might have to sometimes wait for hours between responses from the technician. This may lead to days in resolution time. A client of ours told his experience with a previous host of his when his website suddenly went offline:

“First I had to wait in a queue of live chat for 1 hour and 45 minutes to even talk to a technician. Once he confirmed the issue, the support ticket was created and escalated to Level-2 admin who responded next day by email without resolving the issue. All this time my website was down and I was forced to move my site elsewhere!”

It is a valid point to argue whether it is reasonable to call a support “24/7 support” if a customer has to wait for hours or days to even get a response.

4. No 24/7 support in reality

In the online world, it is difficult to know whether the hosting provider is honest about telling the level of support they provide. We have heard quite a few cases about companies claiming to have 24/7/365 support, but when all hell breaks loose, nobody is there answering your support tickets. This can be really disappointing from the client’s perspective.

So what can you do to avoid unpleasant surprises?

This all may sound really frustrating when you are looking for a hosting provider that you could really trust. You can never know for sure before trying but there are a few things you can certainly do to improve your chances of finding the best web host for you.

1. Contact the sales support before signing up to confirm if they also have Level-2 and Level-3 coverage 24/7. In case they do, is it free of charge outside of the office hours? You may also try to ask whether they have an in-house or outsourced support team.

2. See how long it takes to get a reply from a sales representative. It is understandable that with more complex system quotes it may take some time to compose the reply. However if the sales agent takes hours or days to answer to your simple questions regarding the service, you can expect the same from the technical support.

3. Pay attention to communication skills of the support agent. If they fail to answer your questions, don’t understand you at all or in case the reply contains numerous errors, you might be dealing with an incompetent, outsourced customer support agent.

4. Try contacting the technical support on inconvenient hours, in example during holidays or in the middle of the night. If you get swift replies at all times, you can be sure the company in fact has 24/7 support. In case you have to wait for answers for hours or even days, move forward to your next potential hosting service option.

5. Read customer reviews on reputable web hosting review web sites. It is a really good indicator to read testimonials of existing customers of the hosting provider. Google is your best friend when looking for unbiased customer reviews of your potential web host candidate.

If you are tired of looking further, you are welcome to sign-up with our web hosting services. I can assure you that you will be satisfied with the level of support we can provide to you. Our in-house support team has been awarded as one of the best support team’s on market. We provide real 24/7/365 support with unlimited level-3 coverage and guaranteed response time within minutes.

You can view our hosting plans here and in case you have any questions, please feel free to contact our support!

Christmas Is Near – It’s Time to Share

Christmas outlook for orangewebsite.com with snowmen wearing Christmas hats.
Christmas outlook for orangewebsite.com with snowmen wearing Christmas hats.

New outlook on our website is to remind everyone that Christmas is all about giving. Spread the holiday cheer and get involved with a charity project of your choice!

The holiday season is rapidly approaching and we have published new Christmas outlook on our website to spread the holiday cheer. Some of you may have noticed that there are new trees growing on the view of Icelandic landscape. This is because OrangeWebsite helps The Canope Project to plant new trees every month.

Christmas all about sharing and giving, therefore now it’s the best time to get involved with a charity project that you feel is important. As the old saying goes, little drops of water make the mighty ocean. I have listed some charity programs below that you could consider:

1.) World Vision Charity Gift Project

With World Vision gift project, you can give where it’s most needed. With minimum donation of $10 USD you can support the less fortunate children around the world and give them a Christmas gift of your choice.

2.) International Animal Rescue

Most of us are going to buy Christmas presents anyway. Why not to choose a present that also makes the world a better place? Internal Animal Rescue offers gifts from soft toys to virtual gifts. All profits are used for supporting projects that help animals around the world. This way your gift gets a double effect. International Animal Rescue also accepts money donations for it’s projects.

3.) Unicef Christmas Charity Gifts

Give good with Unicef inspired gift and change a child’s life. You can give gift of your choice from polio vaccines to footballs, starting from $16 USD per donation.

4.) Green Schools Campaign

Christmas time is a good time to get involved with environmental projects as well. Giving back to the earth what you take helps to keep the ecological balance. Green schools Campaign helps to build energy-efficient schools that provide children science-based environmental and civic education in the classroom.

OrangeWebsite and it’s staff is sending you warm winter wishes for an enchanted holiday season. May this wonderful time of giving bring you joy that lasts throughout the year!

New Website Online Now

screenshot of orangewebsite.com
screenshot of orangewebsite.com

Our new website was published on 1st of October 2014 to replace our older site on www.orangewebsite.com

As CEO of OrangeWebsite I am very happy to announce that our completely new website is online as of today. Our goal was to create a website that would fit to our brand without making the design too complex to use. We want to make sure that our visitors can still navigate through the sites within a few clicks to access the areas they need.  The new website is more customer friendly and contains a lot of useful information about our services. This blog is one of many new features the new website brings along.

I want to give special thanks to our team (especially Adalsteinn Karlsson) who have been working long hours to make this all possible. We will keep running minor updates on the website if necessary in the near future to give it the final touch. I would also like to thank our loyal customers for all the feedback they have given to make these changes easier for us. Your comments will be much appreciated also in the future!

You may visit our new website at: https://www.orangewebsite.com